MU opens Big East play vs Providence

The No. 10/11 Marquette University men's basketball team concludes its season-long five-game homestand with the 2007-08 BIG EAST Conference lidlifter against Providence Thursday night at the Bradley Center. The league season officially gets underway with the 8 p.m. tipoff, with ESPN+ producing the live telecast.

Time Warner Sports will air the game locally, which features Eric Collins (play-by-play) and Mike Kelley (analyst) calling the action. The two programs, which have now met three times in BIG?EAST play, have each claimed four victories in the all-time series. Each team won on its home court in 2006-07.

Golden Eagles Set For Year Three In BIG EAST

Thursday's matchup with Providence tips off Marquette's third year in the BIG?EAST Conference, with the Golden Eagles poised to improve on the team's 10-victory league campaign in 2006-07.

Picked third in the league's preseason coaches poll, Marquette is one of just three programs (Georgetown and Pittsburgh) to claim 10-or-more victories in conference play in each of the last two seasons.

The Golden Eagles are 12-6 all-time in conference openers (Midwestern Collegiate; 1-1, Great Midwest; 3-1, Conference USA; 7-3, BIG EAST; 1-1) and 5-3 under ninth-year head coach Tom Crean. Providence downed Marquette 74-59 (Jan. 4) in 2006-07 in the BIG EAST opener for both schools.

Homestand Statistics Produce Successful Results

While Thursday night's game wraps up a season-long five-game homestand, Marquette is hoping the overly friendly confines of the Bradley Center continue for one more outing.

In victories over Sacramento State, IPFW, Coppin State and Savannah State, the Golden Eagles have dominated play on the court. As a result, the team has trailed for a total of just 58 seconds in the last four games, all of which came in the win over Savannah State.

Marquette is shooting 50.2 percent from the field over the course of the last four outings, 40.0 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Golden Eagles have outrebounded their opponents by 11 caroms per game and are averaging 82.0 points per game.

Even more impressive are the team's defensive numbers during the homestand. Opponents are connecting on just 32.0 percent of their attempts from the field and just 20.0 percent from behind the 3-point line. That translates into a scoring average of just 46.5 points per game.

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